The RAC Reveals Drivers Lack Safety Knowledge

September 5, 2014

The RAC has released their annual Report on Motoring and a quick read tells you some shocking statistics about the drivers on our roads. The report for 2014 looked at the relationship between UK motorists and their cars and motoring in general, looking at their general road safety and driving knowledge as well as habitual attitudes and beliefs in relation to the road and their vehicles. The report suggests that many drivers don’t keep up their road safety knowledge after passing their driving test and this could be a real danger to others on the roads.

Since 1996 the driving theory test has been in place to ensure road users have a good understanding of the Highway Code but even before this date drivers were expected to consider and digest the Highway Code, for their own road safety. The RAC report took information from 1,526 people and shows that once drivers get that all-important driving test pass, the rules of the road are all but forgotten. Below is a closer look at the key problem areas according to the RAC.

The Highway Code


Stopping Distances

This is the key area in which the RAC report raised concerns. Only 16% of the drivers surveyed by the RAC remembered the correct stopping distance for a car travelling at 70 miles per hour on the motorway. The right answer is 24 car lengths but many drivers answered with 10 car lengths or less, a real worry when considering how late many of these drivers may be breaking in real time and therefore, significantly increasing the risk on the roads.

The report also showed that a huge 67% of all surveyed admitted to speeding on the motorway with 4% admitting to driving at over 90 miles per hour or more. Aside from breaking the law, speed limits are in place to keep all drivers safe and avoid potentially fatal accidents.

The government are currently considering increasing the speed limit on the motorway but as many drivers don’t know their stopping distances as it is, this could spur people to drive even faster and be even more at risk.

Driving and Dialling

Unbelievable as it sounds, drivers surveyed also claimed not to understand the laws relating to the use of mobile phones when driving. It is simply illegal to use a handheld mobile phone when driving, and this has been law since 2003. Driving is defined as any time where you are sat in the car and the engine is switched on, even when stationary, and therefore you are breaking the law even when still, sending a text, but the engine is on, something most drivers weren’t aware of.

75% of drivers surveyed also admitted to seeing people chatting on their mobile phones when driving regularly. The law seems to be working to some degree however as only 8% admitted to using their mobile phones when driving themselves, which is at least some evidence of the public awareness of the law against driving and dialling.

Essential Road Safety Knowledge

A good level of up to date road safety knowledge is essential. Keeping the roads as safe as possible avoids accidents and the last thing you want is your lack of knowledge to behind an accident that leaves you liable for other people’s injuries and losses.
photo credit: Bev Goodwin via photopin cc